Revista Caribeña de Investigación Educativa, 6, 2(2022), 116-130 ISSN (impreso): 2636-2139 ISSN (en línea): 2636-2147 • Sitio web: https://revistas.isfodosu.edu.do/index.php/recie/
COMPETENCIA SOCIOLINGÜÍSTICA Y NECESIDADES FORMATIVAS DE LOS FUTUROS MAESTROS DE EDUCACIÓN PRIMARIA
SOCIOLINGUISTIC COMPETENCE AND TRAINING NEEDS OF FUTURE PRIMARY EDUCATION TEACHERS
Pág: 116-130 | Recibido: | Aprobado:
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Pérez-Ferra, M., Quijano-López, R., Neira-Piñeiro, M. del R., García-Martínez, I. (2022). Sociolinguistic Competence and Training Needs of Future Primary Education Teachers. RECIE. Revista Caribeña de Investigación Educativa, 6(2), 116-130. https://doi.org/10.32541/recie.2022.v6i2.pp116-130
La competencia sociolingüística se relaciona con la dimensión social del uso de la lengua, de vital importancia para el ejercicio docente. Este trabajo profundiza en el nivel de competencia sociolingüística de 380 estudiantes de las universidades de Jaén, Granada y Oviedo (España) e identifica el impacto post-test del programa en línea “Affective e-learning+”. Se realizó un análisis descriptivo de los datos, seguido por un estudio inferencial. Los datos fueron analizados mediante el programa estadístico SPSS v23. Los resultados evidenciaron los niveles de desempeñoiniciales y mostraron en algunos casos carencias significativas. El programa en línea aportó diferencias significativas, con un impacto “alto” en la mejora del “uso del registro y adecuación al contexto”, “hablar lentamente y vocalizando” y una mejora en el “uso del lenguaje no verbal”. Se concluye la necesidad de prestar atención a la competencia comunicativa de los futuros docentes, y se evidencian los beneficios del programa en línea “Affective e-learning+”, empleado en esta investigación, diseñado para el progreso en esta competencia.
Sociolinguistic competence deals with the social dimension of language use, of vital importance for teaching. This work delves into sociolinguistic competence level of 380 students from the universities of Jaen, Granada and Oviedo (Spain), identifying the post-test impact of the online “Affective e-learning+” program. Data analysis was performed through a pre-post-test quasi-experimental study with a non-equivalent control group. A descriptive study was conducted, followed by inferential examination. Data were analyzed with the program SPSS v23. The results provided evidence of different levels of initial performance, showing in some cases significant deficiencies. The online program produced significant differences, with a “high” impact with regards to improvement in “registry use and adaptation to the context,” “talking slowly and vocalizing” and improvement in “use of non-verbal language.”. It is concluded that there is the need to pay attention to the communicative competence of future teachers, noting the benefits of the program “Affective e-learning+”, designed to improve this competence.
competencia, competencia comunicativa, competencia sociolingüística, formación del profesorado, formación del profe-sorado basada en competencias.
competence, communicative competence, sociolinguistic competence, teacher education, competence-based teacher education.
This research delves into the initial level of students enrolled on a Degree in Primary Education Teaching at universities in Granada, Jaen and Oviedo (Spain), with respect to their sociolinguistic competence in their mother tongue. It further investigates the post-test impact of the “Affective e-learning+” program applied within the experimental group, integrating the first two aforementioned universities, in relation to the advances achieved in the different performance criteria that make up the reference competence.
Motivation for conducting the study stems from the fact that a quality training experience in Primary Education, targeting the aforesaid competence, is fundamental for student development at later stages. This means that mastery of the aforementioned competence amongst those embarking upon a teaching Degree is as necessary as didactic preparation when training students who will soon be teachers in the near future.
When applied to the development of communicative competence, the “Affective eLearning+” model has the general objective of improving student perceptions of wellbeing when learning sociolinguistic competence. Its fundamental objective is to promote the skills and strengths that enable students to manage the feelings and emotions that can impede the development of educational processes through online training. In this case, the development of sociolinguistic competence is specifically considered (Ortega-Carrillo, 2017).
To this end, the “Affective eLearning+” program proposes that working towards the creation of shared knowledge and the collaborative resolution of online problems, is achieved by adopting transparent strategies for the creation, storage and management of information and knowledge in digital repositories. Those individuals who can easily access the full range of tools made available in online education (libraries and intelligent electronic media libraries, e-portfolios, inter-community blogs, specific social network profiles, personal three-dimensional virtual worlds, etc.), will experience greatest benefit.
With regards to the processes of concern to the present study, students engaged in “scripting” radio programs, public expositions and “uploads” to a platform with shared access amongst participants (hypermedia communication,) and rated the contributions of their peers. The content was raised at centers of interest, with work being conducted through videoconferences in which affective aspects were highlighted: looks, gestures, paralanguages and voice intonation. Students completed didactic hypermedia materials with a personal imprint. All processes were conducted over a period of 102 days.
2. Literature review
Didactic research identifying deficiencies within the field of teacher training has proposed that teachers frequently employ intuition as dictated by their experience (García-Aróstegui, 2008; Romero-Martín et al., 2017). This is a concerning situation given that the reference competence is essential to generate learning spaces. These in turn facilitates the development of didactic events and contributes to cognitive development and the interaction capacity between members of the educational community (Gràcia et al., 2015; Gràcia et al., 2017).
Communicative competence, which can be understood as “what a speaker needs to know to communicate effectively in culturally significant settings”’ (Gumperz & Hymes, 1972, p. 3) is crucial in everyday life, including the professional context of teaching. It is one of the European Higher Education Area professional competences, which should be developed by XXI century university students (Camus-Ferri et al., 2019). Besides, it is part of the teaching competences, being essential for didactic interaction (Domingo-Segovia et al., 2013; Korres-Alonso et al., 2021; Sánchez-Delgado et al., 2019, Tijeras & Monsalve, 2018).
In turn, communicative competence includes several dimensions, one of which is the sociolinguistic competence (Canale & Swain, 1980; Council of Europe, 2001; Fuertes et al., 2021). Although it has been studied as a part of communicative competence, its consideration as a teaching competence is relatively recent. One of the reasons of the emergence of this field of study is the fact that current approaches place the student at the center of the training process. Moreover, it is essential for teachers the creation of a space for communication, motivation and interaction with students. In this way, a person’s discourse acts as an instrument of communication with others (Kataoka, et al., 2018). Generally speaking, as the communicative competence is considered a teaching competence (Gallego & Rodríguez, 2013; Tijeras & Monsalve, 2018), the sociolinguistic competence, as part of the first one, is also a teaching competence.
The circumstances alluded to have been endorsed by international organizations who have urged the need for competence-based teacher training. The Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OCDE), the World Bank and the European Union (European Commission, 2018) are amongst those supporting this view, with the Declaration of Bologna (1999) serving as their point of reference.
Those involved in the present study seek to address competence development using two complimentary indicators, the first being civic Humanism from an axiological perspective and the second being the epistemological origins set out in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) (Council of Europe, 2001).
As a generic competence, sociolinguistic competence integrates knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, amongst other aspects, which students deploy to acquire specific competences (Babiloni et al., 2017; Strijbos et al., 2015). As a transferable competence which relates to one “knowing how to be”, it refers to the situations and concrete actions that are reflected in teachers’ adequate language use in relation to the context-defining cultural backdrop (Núñez-López et al., 2018). Sociolinguistic competence also addresses adequate application of the sociocultural rules of language, with this being of great significance in the work of the teacher, both for the development of their professional teaching identity, and for the establishment of interactive processes with members of the educational community.
A high level of sociolinguistic competence, as much in the normative as the communicative field, is an essential quality for future teachers in order to carry out teaching-learning processes. These include promoting cooperative working and developing the teacher relationship with families, institutions and other teachers. These are becoming increasingly essential processes (Childs, 2018; Sierra-Arizmendiarrieta et al., 2013).
Amongst the different elements of the sociolinguistic competence, this study focuses on the more relevant variables for teacher training. Thus, taking into account the (CEFRL), as well as other scientific works on communicative competence (Canale, 1983; Canale & Swain, 1980), three units of competence have been defined which pertain to sociolinguistic competence: “paralinguistic,” “non-verbal language and proxemics,” “register use” and “adaptation to context.” These dimensions consider the adequacy of discourse in a given context, as well as the adequate use of various codes not related to grammar but relevant for effective communication.
The paralinguistic competence unit includes the control of the “paralinguistic codes,” linked to individual performance criteria, which evaluate the nonverbal characteristics of the voice, such as the speed, control, fluency and voice volume. These aspects play an important role in oral communication (Vásquez-Sánchez, 2022) and are essential for adequate reception of the teacher’s discourse in the classroom (Aparicio-Herguedas et al., 2020). In fact, the speakers can control or modulate their paralanguage –such as the volume of the voice, speech, etc.– in order to persuade their audience (Van Zant & Berger, 2020). Some research studies positively rate the use of paralinguistic codes in the classroom (Uştuk & Aydın, 2018). Other authors allude to the lack of systematic investigation into the promotion of the capacity of children to speak in public, and have promoted programs targeting improved voice modulation and an emphasis on discourse when necessary (Herbein, et al., 2018; Rothenbusch et al., 2016). For its part, the ability to modulate the voice in order to motivate and attract the listeners’ attention helps the transmission of the message and is critical for oral transmission of literature (storytelling, reading stories, reciting poems…). Besides, this competence unit also includes the observance of conversation rules.
Non-verbal language plays a key role in human communication (Burgoon et al, 2021). It includes codes that teachers must master due to their relevance in communicative situations found in the classroom (Wahyuni, 2018). It refers to the gestures made with hands, arms or their face and eye contact (Aparicio-Herguedas et al., 2020; Celce-Murcia, 2018; Author, 2018; Prado-Aragonés, 2004). Teachers gestures pay a crucial role in educational contexts, as they may help communication and learning (Bowcher, & Zhang, 2020). These codes have also been found to be beneficial when working with children with general developmental disorders, given that they generate multimodal interaction in the transfer of knowledge (Djatmika et al., 2018). Regarding proxemics, it deals with the positioning and movements of teachers in the classroom, which in turn can either facilitate or impede communication. Both non-verbal language and proxemic aspects are determined by conventions which are dependent on the cultural reality (Prado-Aragonés, 2004). It is through the proximity-distance relationship where the links that determine the teacher-student level of interaction are made. More generally, the techniques and resources related to non-verbal language are crucial for an effective communication with students, as they serve to improve their attention and interest (Camus-Ferri et al., 2019).
The “register use and its adaptation to the context of the interlocutor” is an essential skill for future teachers, in as much as it enables discourse to be contextualized to the cultural backdrop in which it is found (Baratta, 2017; Bueno-Moreno, et al., 2013; Domingo-Segovia et al., 2013). Despite this, a number of studies have detected inadequate use –by students– of the formal register. This is seen in the use of colloquial or vulgar terminology and constructions in contexts such as the academic context, which require a formal use of language (Rivera-Jurado & Vargas-Sánchez, 2015; Rico-Martín & Níkleva, 2016). These and other deficiencies in the use of language by students make urgent teacher training geared towards the differentiation and adequate use of different registers, such as employment of the formal register in communicative situations common in academic life (Ayora-Esteban, 2017; Baratta, 2017; Council of Europe, 2002).
Once the significance of sociolinguistic competence in the didactic and social sphere has become evident, the research problem is defined here as: “What are the formative deficiencies of students undertaking a Degree in Primary Education Teaching,concerning the constituent performance criteria of sociolinguistic competence: Register use and adaptation to the context, paralinguistic, non-verbal language and proxemics, and what was the impact of the “Affective e-learning+” program on these performance criteria.” In order to address the aforementioned problem, the following 3 objectives are defined: a) To know the initial performance level of the students included in the study sample, with respect to the three aforementioned competence units; b) to determine whether statistically significant differences exist between the control and experimental group at post-test, with differences being examined for each one of the performance criteria which integrate sociolinguistic competence in the case of the later; and, c) to define the level of impact of the “Affective e-learning+” program on each of the performance criteria that integrate the dependent variable, regarding to the experimental group at post-test.
3.1. Population and sample
The population included 1,445 students enrolled on the first year of a Degree in Primary Education Teaching. The minimum representative sample was 304 students and was determined through the formula: “Sample Size Calculator for a proportion (absolute margin)” calculated at http://www.berrie.dds.nl/calcss.htm. The present study, however, worked with 380 participants, with the sample being composed of students enrolled in the first year of the Degree on Primary Education Teaching at the universities of Granada, Jaen and Oviedo (Spain). Initially, an incidental sampling was carried out, which admits a minimum sample size of 304, although more informants can be assumed in this case. We worked with the universities of Granada, Jaen and Oviedo because they were the institutions that participated in the project financially supported by the Ministry of Economy, whose execution deserved the qualification of “Excellence.” The “Sample Size Calculator for a proportion” program was used because it is a contrasted application and recognized prestige, used the article published in impact journals.
Students from the universities of Granada and Jaen were the experimental group, wich consisted of 268 students (73.2% of the overall sample). The control group consisted of 112 students attending university in Oviedo (17.1%). Of the surveyed students, 247 (65%) were female and 135 (35%) were male.
A Likert scale with 5 response options (never=1/always=5) was developed, based on the MCERL (Council of Europe, 2001), with 20 items. The scale has a Cronbach alpha for the overall scale of (α = .791), and an omega of (ω = .823). For all even items the alpha was (α = .719), and for all odd items (α = .758), bringing balance to the scale. Reliability of the scale in response to eliminating each item with respect to the whole, fluctuated between item (nº 12 = .654 < .750 = item nº 4). No item was suppressed, since it did not exceed the totality alpha. The corrected item-total correlation was in no case zero or negative (item no. 4 = .026 < .550 = item no. 22) and also did not lead to suppression; therefore, no item was omitted from the initial 20 items.
The content validity was carried out by eleven experts. This was made according to two criteria: if the formulated items responded to the trait that the questionnaire intended to measure, and if they were semantically adequate for students to understand their meaning. On the basis of the revision, none of the items was suppressed. The Lawshe Content Validity Index (Lawshe, 1975) was used. It fluctuated between .33 and 1. As the CVI of the survey was .65, there were no items removed.
Construct validity was carried out through principal component analysis (PrC), applying the rotation varimax (maximum variance) with Kaiser normalization and a minimum weight (p=.05) to define the factors. The results allowed the factorial analysis, taking into account the calculation of the Cronbach alpha coefficient, the homogeneity of the data and the KMO index, together with the Bartlett sphericity test. After examining the applicability of the factorial analysis with a significance level of p < .05 in the Barlett test. The null hypothesis (H0) was accepted and 9 items were suppressed (table 1). The analysis was carried out with the statistical program Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, 24.0 of IBM.
The adequacy is given by the significance of the Bartlett test (p <5%) and by a KMO measure> .8 (Hair., 2009). The Bartlett sphericity test: C2 (105 gl) = 877.442, p <0.001, as well as the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sample adequacy (KMO = .829> 0.8), show that the sample considered performed the analysis factorial.
The reliability of the scale provided an alpha with respect to all of (α = .875), an alpha for the even items of (α = 787), and for the odd items of (α = .763), so that both parts are balanced. The scale has stability, since it far exceeds the lower limit between .60 - .70, proposed by (Hair, et al., 2009).
Table 1. Construct validity
Measure of sampling adequacy
Bartlett’s test of sphericity
The scale was finally defined by 3 factors: F1= Register use and adaptation to the context, F2= Non-verbal language and proxemics, F3= Paralinguistics, which coincided with the structure defined in the scale. The total explained variance was 47.730%, distributed between: (F1 = 18.634%), (F2 = 16.717%), (F-3 = 12.379%), and consisting of 11 items (performance criteria) defined in table 2.
Table 2. Functional structure of sociolinguistic competence resulting from explanatory factorial analysis.
Units of competence
6. Speaks slowly and vocalizes when making contributions in class.
7. Can be heard when he/she speaks in class.
12. Modulates the voice in order to motivate and grab the attention of listeners.
19.Interrupts the interlocutor before he/she have finished speaking.
Non-verbal language and proxemics
15. Makes an effort to look at others when speaking in class.
16. Uses the gestures and facial expression consciously.
18. When he/she speaks avoids staying at the same place.
20.Uses non-verbal language to be supported by the others.
Register use and adaptation to the context.
1. Avoids colloquial expressions in academic texts.
4. Uses a formal register in academic written texts
5. Uses a different language when speaking to children or to adults
3.3. Data analysis
A quasi-experimental study was conducted with a non-equivalent control group, which was preceded by a descriptive study (mean and standard deviation). The quasi-experimental study began with a pretest analysis (C. G. - E. G.) to check if there was initial homogeneity in the performance levels of both groups. Subsequently, a pre-test/post-test (C. G.) study determined the possible intervention of extraneous variables in the (C. G.), during the online program development. The post-test study (C. G. - E. G.) was carried out to determine possible effects of the “Affective e-learning+” program on the different performance criteria in the experimental group.
In the three studies we worked with Student t-test, as there was a normal distribution of the curve, Kilmogoros-Smirnov test (p =.674 > .05) and homogeneity of variances, Levene test [F(totality)=(t(491)=3.086, (p = 0.084 > 0.05)] and the analyses could be carried out with parametric tests. The effect size was determined using Cohen (d), with a significance level of (p≤.05).
The descriptive analysis of the competence unit “Paralinguistics” highlights two criteria that are grouped around “almost always,” PRLG1, “Speaks slowly and well in oral interventions in class” (X¯ = 3.670, α = 1.045); PRLG2, “ Be heard well when making an intervention in class” (X¯ = 3.971, α = 1.045). Other criteria are positioned at “Somewhat frequently” PRLG3, “You modulate your voice to motivate and attract listeners’ attention” (X¯ = 3.575, α = 1.064) and PRLG4, “You stop your interlocutor before he/she has finished speaking” (X α = 2.965, α=1.312), with a moderate dispersion with respect to the opinion of all the criteria.
Regarding “Non-verbal language and proxemics,” the trend is downward, LNV-PROX1, only “Almost always” exercising “Make an effort to face others when presenting in class,” (X¯ = 3.745, α = 1.182). However, the other criteria are only exercised “sometimes,” LNV-PROX2, “You consciously use facial expressions and expressions,” (X¯ = 3.270, α = 1. 120); LNV-PROX3, “When you speak, you avoid standing in one place without moving,” (X¯ = 3.490, α = 1.152) and LNV-PROX4, “You use non-verbal language to get others to support your ideas,” (X¯ = 3.101, α = 1.212). This indicates quite homogeneity in the consideration that parallel languages are not used in their academic activity.
In relation to the competence unit “Use of register and adaptation to context” URAC, “almost always” “Use different language when you speak with children than when you speak with adults” URAC3, showing low dispersion in the responses (X¯ = 4.260, α =.976) and URAC2 (3.990, α = 1.053), which drops to “sometimes” in URAC1, “You avoid jargon in academic texts,” (X¯ = 2.984, α = 1.164).
Table 3. Descriptive analysis, table showing percentages, means and standard deviations of the different performance criteria
Note (1): (never=1), (almost never=2), (on some occasions=3), (almost always=4), (always=5). (2) PRLG: Paralinguistics; LNV-PROX: Non-verbal language and proxemics; URAC: Register use and adaptation to the context; CSLG: sociolinguistic competence.
The quasi-experimental study, in the pre-test phase, the contrast between the (C.G.-E.G.) showed no statistically significant differences with respect to the whole (p = .751 >.05), [Klomogorov-Smirnov test (p = .094)], whereby both groups started from an initial situation of reasonable homogeneity.
The pre-test/post-test analysis (P.P.) indicated that there were no foreign variables in the reference group during the research process (p = .923 > .05), [Klmogorov-Smirnov (p = .996)].
The post-test study, (G.C.- G.E) confirmed the curve normal distribution, oscillating the performance criteria between [PRLG1 (p = .221 < .998) URAC1)], Kolmogorov-Smirnov test.
In the competence unit “Paralinguistics” “PRLG” the following results have been obtained: In relation to the performance criterion: “PRLG1 (p = .000 ≤ .05), (d) =.89 the program incidence, favorable to the experimental group, has been high in “PRLG3” (p=. 000≤.05), (d) = .65, has been medium, and low in the two remaining performance criteria, PRLG2 (p =.000 ≤ .05), (d) = .33 and “PRLG4” (p = .000 ≤ .05), (d) = .11. In all four cases there are statistically significant differences.
In relation to “Non-verbal language and proxemics” “LNV-PROX,” the factor analysis determined four performance criteria. For three of them the program incidence, in favor of the experimental group, has been high: “LNV-PROX1,” (p =.000≤.05), (d) = .81; “LNV-PROX2”, (p = .000 ≤. 05), (d) = .95 and “LNV-PROX4,” (p =.000 ≤ .05), (d) = .81. However, in “LNV-PROX3,” (p = .000 ≤ .05), (d) = .26, the effect size was low. In all four criteria there were also statistically significant differences.
The program produced statistically significant differences with respect to the competence unit “Use of register and adaptation to context”, “URAC,” in the performance criteria: “URAC1,” (p = .000 ≤ .05), (d)=.91 and in “URAC2,” (p =.008 ≤ .05), (d) = .95, although there were no significant differences with respect to “URAC3,” (p = .360 ≤ .05), (d) = .01.
Regarding the whole, students evidence statistically significant differences in the exercise of sociolinguistic competence, in favor of the experimental group in the post-test situation (p = .000 ≤ .05), with a high inference of the online program (d) = .81, therefore the inference of the online program on the dependent variable has been high and also in 6 of the eleven performance criteria.
Table 4. Analysis of mean pre-test differences between the control and experimental group with regards to sociolinguistic competence (Student t-test)
Effect size (d)
Note (1) * = p <.05. (3) Effect size is expressed using Cohen’s d: (small=.2, medium=.05, high=.08.)
4. Discussion and conclusions
On many occasions, the action of the teacher in the classroom is defined by actions based on conjecture. The reasons for this are associated with teachers having received an initial and didactic training with regards to language that is reduced to a formal theoretical analysis centered on the morphosyntactic structure of language (Calderón-Noguera, 2011,
To a large extent, this evidences the deficiencies detected in the sociolinguistic training of students undertaking a Degree in Primary Education Teaching. This deficiency is not only found in the training that students receive during their studies prior to enrolling at university, but also in their didactic training as future teachers. This will generate communication problems in the future, in the classroom, with parents, and with other teachers and social agents. Further, aspects of training that were omitted from processes, included those as important as paralanguages, adequate voice use, and interpretation of the emotional situation of children when explaining to them or directing them, amongst others. These aspects are of vital importance for the training of future teachers.
A medium-low level was also achieved in relation to some of the performance criteria linked to the paralinguistic unit of competence. This deficiency concerns the ‘voice modulation to motivate and grab the attention of listeners’ (PRLG3), which is partly due to the lack of previous preparation with regards to linguistic intonation, interrogations and exclamations, as well as to some deficiencies regarding the emotional intonation, which depends on the type of text (Alberola, 2014). Besides, the students ‘interrupt the interlocutor before she had finished speaking’ (PRLG4) on “some occasions”.
Schools do not typically deliver actions orientated towards simultaneously training listening and restructuring skills, positive support through feedback, synthesizing and paraphrasing or developing self-esteem or confidence in one’s own locution (Kent-Walsh et al., 2015). This could be due to the lack of teachers’ training in fundamental aspects of Neurolinguistics to improve the relationship with the students (Vanga-Arbelo & Fernández-Sotelo (2016). However, it is the case that “Spanish students typically participate more actively in the conversation as listeners” (Pascual-Escagedo, 2012, p. 400), thus, actions to increase respect for the taking and ending of turn taking are supported.
Other performance criteria, which are paralinguistics in nature, are exercised with greater frequency and higher levels of performance: they ‘almost always’ ‘speak slowly and vocalize when making contributions in class’ (PRLG1), ‘they are heard when speaking in class’ (PRLG2). This can be linked to the increase of workshops in primary and secondary education in order to achieve paralinguistic improvement (González-Ceria, 2017).
The initial situation of the students in relation to ‘non-verbal language and proxemics’ indicates that ‘only on some occasions” (LNV-PROX-4) they ’use non-verbal language in order to be supported by the others.’ These are concerning findings given their relevance to communicative situations in the classroom (Celce-Murcia, 2018; Neira-Piñeiro et al., 2018; Uştuk & Aydın, 2018), in addition to their importance when working with students who have general developmental disorders given that they generate multimodal interaction in the transfer of knowledge (Djatmika et al., 2018). Similar deficiencies are observed in the absence of gestures and paralanguages to address the others (LNV-PROX-2). The same problem is detected regarding the fact that they stay at the same place when they speak (LNV-PROX-3). Besides, they do not usually ‘make an effort to look at others when presenting in class’ (LNV-PROX-1). The low results in “LNV-PROX3,” could be due to the lack of students’ training in paralinguistic resources (modification of the voice or facial expressions). The fact of not staying in the same place is an attempt to avoid the monotony of communication through physical displacement. Another issue to consider is the fact that there was an online program. Thus, it was more difficult to overcome these shortcomings, whose intervention is more effective when there is a physical presence of the teaching staff. These results coincide with the research of Camus-Ferri et al. (2019) regarding the scarce use of non-verbal communicative resources, in reference to and facial expressions. There are many teachers who only emphasize the transmission and exposition of the contents, giving rise to vertical and unidirectional communication, with a predominance of the expository strategy, eliminating non-verbal and paraverbal elements. Thus, these teachers do not use crucial teaching resources for developing communicative competence, such as the non-verbal elements previously mentioned.
The results produced in the initial step evidence that only ‘on some occasions’ did students avoid ‘colloquial expressions in academic texts’ (URAC1). This can be partly explained by lack of care when using ellipsis and a lack of training courses offered by education faculties (Basi, 2017).
Finally, the initial situation of the sample as to sociolinguistic competence is addressed. The results evidence a medium-low performance ‘on some occasions’, with considerable variation in the individual responses of the consulted students. Certainly, sociolinguistic competence is a recent consideration inside the classroom, which has emerged as the student has increasingly been considered to be at the center of the educational process. This justifies “communicative skills as the main instrument (…) for passing on knowledge (…) and favoring the demonstration of the knowledge acquired (in this way) and so that in the same way deficits will become evident” (Balaguer-Fábregat et al., 2015, p. 142). At the same time, sociolinguistics constitutes an ambit of motivation, interaction and communication with students (Kataoka, et al., 2018).
The inferential study showed that the online program generated statistically significant differences between the control group and the experimental group at post-test, favoring inclusion in the latter group. That being said, effect size (d) analysis established notable differences, achieving greater impacts on ‘avoiding colloquial expressions in academic texts’, and ‘the use of non-verbal language in an effort to support the ideas of others’. This same level of improvement was also achieved in the criteria of ‘to talk slowly or to vocalize when making contributions in class’ and in ‘the modulation of the voice to motivate and catch the attention of listeners’. This highlights the importance of simulating radio programs, scripting or conducting oral activities in order to improve the performance criteria of this competence (Bohórquez & Rincón-Moreno, 2018). In the same way, strengthening of the affective aspects that are of vital importance for learning and targeted by the ‘Affective e-learning+’ program is vital for the practice of sociolinguistic competence (Ortega-Carrillo, 2017; Saltos-Solís, 2015).
The impact of the program is also highlighted, although to a lesser extent, in several aspects: ‘can be heard when he/she speaks in class’ and ‘makes an effort to look at others when presenting in class’. It can be stated that the master of emotional factors, although can be appreciated, has not been developed enough.
With regards to whether one ‘interrupts an interlocutor before they finish speaking,’ results indicated that considerable advances had been achieved suggesting that these criteria have a somewhat strong influence. Certainly, schools do not tend to proactively incorporate activities oriented towards simultaneously working listening and restructuring skills, providing support through feedback, synthesizing and paraphrasing, and developing self-confidence and confidence in one’s own locution (Kent-Walsh et al., 2015). It should be kept in mind that “Spanish students typically participate more actively in conversation as listeners” (Pascual-Escagedo, 2012, p. 400), which favors a greater respect for the taking and ending of turn taking.
In conclusion, this program had a positive impact in several dimensions of the sociolinguistic competence of the participants. However, more attention should be paid to non-verbal language and proxemics, as some difficulties were detected. The use of video-based activities, or the combination of virtual and in-person sessions could be a way to specifically focus on these issues, with the purpose to improve the program.
Results of the descriptive study are in accordance with studies considered in the literature review, which show deficiencies in didactic research conducted within the scope of how language influences the initial training of teachers. Such deficiencies create large discrepancies in teaching actions, above all, in the sociolinguistic ambit (Romero-Martín et al., 2017). However, initiatives are being promoted, some of which are institutional, which seek to resolve these training deficiencies. Examples include those carried out by the Assembly of Andalusia through the General Directorate of Innovation Service of Educational Plans and Programs (2017). Though it may not seem obvious, as has been indicated by Calderón-Noguera (2011), there is still more than enough time for the teaching of language to move away from an exclusive focus on “a formal theoretical analysis, centered on the morphosyntactic structure of language” (p. 13), which cannot elucidate achieved advances. It is evident, as indicated by various references of investigation, that there is a need for courses to move on from using units of analysis that are limited to oration, orthography and punctuation as the central focus of work. Instead, a greater scope which includes “Textual Linguistics, Critical Analysis of speech and Pragma-dialectical Argumentation, will enable the improvement of the literacy levels of those students who actively participate” (Londoño, 2016, p. 63). Further, when working with online programs which employ emotions and affect, such as that used in the present study, both learning and reasoning capacity are favored, leading to better results (Centeno & Cubo, 2013; García-Areitio, 2014; Hernández-Godoy, 2018; Hernández-Sánchez & Ortega-Maldonado, 2015). Other studies affirm that online learning favors the development of reasoning capacity. The present study demonstrates that this also favors the development of sociolinguistic competence.
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